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Bird-Watching is a Natural Past-Time

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Old 10 Aug 16, 16:05   #1 (permalink)
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Post Bird-Watching is a Natural Past-Time

This is a column for the birds. I hope theyre being sighted, not cited.

Did you happen to catch the latest bulletin from the Audubon Society? It contained yesterdays bird-sightings across the area.

‘This is a column for the birds. I hope theyre being sighted, not cited.’

The report divulged 3,200 Corys shearwaters, 1,200 Wilsons storm-petrels, 18 American oyster catchers, 14 black-legged kittiwakes, and 100 short-billed dowitchers.

My question is, Who in tarnation counts these birds?

Is there somebody out there taking notes and doing an actual headcount? If so, they must have the eye of an eagle to tell a sooty shearwater from a Manx shearwater.

I know, in walking the beach, Im apt to come across any number of feathered creatures trotting across my path. I recognize the gulls and the terns, but woe is me when it comes to the rest. All I know about them is how cute and cautious they are, feeding off the tide and gawking at the world beneath their wings.

Hold the fort. According to my sources, a rose-breasted grosbeak was just spotted off Cummaquid.

Ive been a bird-watcheror birder as they call usfor pretty near my entire life as a home-owner. Its brought me tremendous joy watching these flittering critters each day at my feeder, not knowing who may surprise me today.

It serves as the perfect complement to my morning coffee and newspaper.

Would it be the two cardinals that pay a call? They seem to always travel in pairs. Or the boisterous blue jay? Finches, nuthatches, chickadees, and woodpeckers all have their day in my domain.

Down below, the mourning doves feast over the droppings and everyone seems to be getting along well, until the squirrels appear. Who invited them?

The other day, I was in the market picking up a few necessities when I came across a starter kit for hummingbirds. My secret ambition is to take up wildlife photography and get these incredible shots of ornithology as its calledthe study of birds.

The nature magazines gush forth of hummingbirds caught in mid-air with their wings fluttering and long beaks extended. So why cant I get pictures like that with my 500mm lens and a lifetimes experience with photography?

Well, Ive had the feeder up for two weeks now, visible from the loft with its red nectar, and nothing. Not a single caller. Could be they visit after midnight but I doubt it. I still have it up, thinking it takes time to build trust.

I have several observations about being a birder. Do they spend as much time watching us as we do watching them? And how come there are no carcasses around? What happens to their mortality count? Do birds of a feather actually stick together?

Ive suspended my usual bird feeders at the lake house for the first time in 45 years, thanks to the invading squirrel population. I cannot recall them ever being this aggressive.

No sooner would I fill a feeder when Id find it on the ground, surrounded by chipmunks and squirrels. Its as if they were in cahoots with one another.

A visit to this friends house revealed an emporium of feeders and birdhouses by their kitchen table. The only thing separating them was a window.

The Feenstras have every reason to be homebodiestheir feathered friends. They keep a log on their guests and can tell you the history of each one. In their discussion with a neophyte, its like listening to a foreign language.

If you looked into their past, Jacob was an Olympic hockey player and expert carpenter from The Netherlands and wife Re happened to be close friends with Anne Frank growing up in Amsterdam and has the photos to prove it. Both of them escaped the Holocaust.

Now, they are safely secured in my hometown of Haverhill and take great fascination with their lives watching the birds drop by. They are not alone.

A wise old owl told me that a group of 2,500 people traveled to Kent, England, to view a golden-winged warbler, which is native to North America.

Herein lies another mystery. What guarantee would anybody have the bird would still be there when they arrived? And who would want to pick up that tab for a mere sighting?

Ive been on eagle watches and occasionally welcome a great egret to my dock. What an amazing wingspan! Another friend attracts barn owls to his yard and has a camera set on a tripod. Hes taken some amazing photos.

Wait a minute! Ive just been frequented by a tufted titmouse. Or was it a common warbler? I better go check my manual.


This is a column for the birds. I hope theyre being sighted, not cited. Did you happen to catch the latest bulletin from the Audubon Society? It contained yesterdays bird-sightings across the area. ‘This is a column for the birds. I hope theyre being sighted, not cited.’ The report divulged 3,200 Corys shearwaters, 1,200 Wilsons storm-petrels, 18 American oyster catchers, 14 black-legged kittiwakes, and 100 short-billed dowitchers. My question is, Who in tarnation counts these birds? Is there somebody out there taking notes and doing an actual headcount? If so, they must have the eye of an eagle to tell a sooty shearwater from a Manx shearwater. I know, in walking the beach, Im apt to come across any number of feathered creatures trotting across my path. I recognize the gulls and the terns, but woe is me when it comes to the rest. All I know about them is how cute and cautious they are, feeding off the tide and gawking at the world beneath their wings. Hold the fort. According to my sources, a rose-breasted grosbeak was just spotted off Cummaquid. Ive been a bird-watcheror birder as they call usfor pretty near my entire life as a home-owner. [...]
This is a column for the birds. I hope theyre being sighted, not cited. Did you happen to catch the latest bulletin from the Audubon Society? It contained yesterdays bird-sightings across the area. ‘This is a column for the birds. I hope theyre being sighted, not cited.’ The report divulged 3,200 Corys shearwaters, 1,200 Wilsons storm-petrels, 18 American oyster catchers, 14 black-legged kittiwakes, and 100 short-billed dowitchers. My question is, Who in tarnation counts these birds? Is there somebody out there taking notes and doing an actual headcount? If so, they must have the eye of an eagle to tell a sooty shearwater from a Manx shearwater. I know, in walking the beach, Im apt to come across any number of feathered creatures trotting across my path. I recognize the gulls and the terns, but woe is me when it comes to the rest. All I know about them is how cute and cautious they are, feeding off the tide and gawking at the world beneath their wings. Hold the fort. According to my sources, a rose-breasted grosbeak was just spotted off Cummaquid. Ive been a bird-watcheror birder as they call usfor pretty near my entire life as a home-owner. [...]
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